Sunday, October 26, 2008

Delicioso Bhelpuri aka Mudi Masala


Bhel Mix - 2 cups (Tip - You can get these in Indian stores. If you can't find it, use plain Bhel\Mudi\Muri with some mildly spicy mixture)
Onion - 1/2 small
Tomato - 1/2 small - deseeded, just use the flesh
Green chilli - 2-3
Coriander Chutney - 1 tbsp ( I use Swad brand)
Sweet Tamarind Chutney - 2 tbsp (I use Swad band)
Coriander leaf - a few sprigs
Boiled Potato - 1 small, chopped into tiny cubes

Mix them all together and serve immediately. Yes, you are done! :)

A no-cook recipe..always convenient to make when you get guests suddenly or if you are out on a picnic. You can increase or decrease the ingredients based on your taste and preference.

This is known commonly as Bhelpuri - a savoury snack from Bombay Chowpatty - seaside snack stalls. It is widely known as Mudi Masala or Jhal Mudi in Odissa - a slightly different version. The crunch of the onion, softness of the tomato and potato with the spiciness of the chutneys make it an irresistable lip-smacking snack..slurp!!

I first learned of this particular combination from my dear friend Vaishnavi during one of our many cherished barbecue get-togethers. Thanks, Vaish!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Santa Fe, New Mexico experience - Part 1

Chilli Ristras adorning the corridor of a hotel in Santa Fe - Real Chillis !?! Yes! A quite common sight in New Mexico...

Hi All!

As I mentioned in my last post, lot of exciting things happening lately in my life. I have taken on a new role at work and learning a lot of new interesting things. As a result of this change, I have a more organized life now and get to concentrate more on my programming skills. Love it. Hope to keep the learning experience going...

I have not mentioned in my earlier blog posts that in addition to working in IT field, I am also pursuing my Ph.D. degree. As part of the research experience and exposure, I got to attend a much coveted "Summer School" program at Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a 10-day program where they exposed us to the astronomer's virtual observatory tools for 8 days and we got to develop a project based on the learning in the remaining 2 days. The learning itself was a prize in itself - however, my project also won a prize in the IT category. It was a team project involving me, two researchers from Italy and one researcher from Belgium - we could easily form the United Nations :)

Surprise package of this summer school was that there was an Indian film crew staying in the same hotel. It was none other than Hritik Roshan and his film "Kites" crew, heroine Barbara Mori and dad Rakesh Roshan. I got to talk to him for a few seconds. He was real cool and very courteous. No wonder everyone likes him so much and is all praise for him. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, I did not get a pic with him and that remains my constant crib with hoo!! Catch-line is that I met a star at an astronomy conference..who can beat that? ;)

Santa Fe is an exotic and a wonderland. People are very friendly and warm. I had a great time enjoying the art, culture, the ongoing fiesta and the landscape. The Native American art is so enthralling and enrapturing. If I had my way (and a flight back where I did not have to pay $15 for the first luggage being checked in, $25 thereafter), I would have bought them ALL! Now I am all set that I will decorate our new house with those types of arts and crafts. Take a look at some of the pics and you will understand my obsession!

In addition, the landscape is so gorgeous and varied. The houses have such an unique architecture - the adobe structures makes you feel so much closer to nature and gives out a raw earthy feeling. Maybe I will retire there like the talented artist Georgia O'Keefe - another one to my ever-growing list of places to retire in! :) If you are ever in Santa Fe, do visit the museum dedicated to her - the colors of her paintings are so exotic and pure! One art that particularly caught my attention was a painting of a shell - much much better than a photograph with excellent lighting!

There are so many churches all over the downtown of Santa Fe. That was a Sunday well-spent by walking around Santa Fe and enjoying the ongoing Fiesta. Very colorful..reminded of Bali Jatra held in Cuttach Barbati Stadium. For the uninitiated wondering what the heck is Bali Jatra, it is an annual fair held with much fanfare and a wonderful occasion for family outing. I have been there only twice, however, the memories from those visits are still fresh. That was some good times!

St. Francis Cathedral

Miracle staircase of Loretto Chapel - Note the turns. Believed to have been built by St. Joseph who appeared as a carpenter to help the sisters.

San Miguel Chapel

As part of the Fiesta, they burn a huge structure called the Zozobra. Something a lot akin to the Diwali Mela's Ravan burning. It is also similar in concept of doing away with all the evils of our lives by burning the Zozobra. People have been known to leave their sad letters, legal notices or any other memorabilia that reminds anyone of a sad event in a box near the Zozobra and it is all burnt with him. People send items to burn from all over New Mexico. Here is a pic of the Zozobra.

Will have another post soon where I will post the pics of the terrain and the amazing landscape of this wonderland - Los Alamos, Taos, Jemez Mountains, Jemez Springs, White Rock Overlook and the food - how can I not mention that? ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some Odiya Roasted Dishes - Brinjal and Tomato Poda

Hi there! I am back from my blogging break. It's been a while with lot of exciting things that I would like to share with everyone. Will do so in my next post. Till then, enjoy these healthy recipes from my kitchen to yours. Look forward to hear from everyone around and catch up.

In Oriya household, lunch is heavy while dinner is light. Lunch includes rice, dal with or without a non-veg item and two to three accompaniment dishes. One of the accompaniment dish can be xyz poda (aka roasted xyz) where xyz can be brinjal or tomato, for example. I did not quite cherish them earlier but I am craving for them now. Considering our effort to eat healthy and have more variety, this is a good option to try out. Maa should be proud of me now, I hope! :)

My food habits have changed so much in the last 4-5 years, almost akin to the out-of-body experience. You get the picture, right? ;) Maa and Baba were shocked on their recent visit. Maa kept on saying "Now you eat it :D You have wasted so much of this in your childhood..hmmp", "Where did you learn this?", "How can you eat this?" :) I took some of my childhood-forceful-eating revenge on Maa as well by making her eat asparagaus and she just refused to take another should have seen the joy on my niece's face on finding someone else sharing her dislike for asparagaus. Food constitutes about 75% of all my memories, I guess! :))

Before I divert too much, let's get to the recipe for Baigana Poda (aka Roasted eggplant) and Tomato Poda (aka Roasted Tomato). Sorry, no pictures available right now. However, when I make them next time, I will sure to click a pic and include it here.

Baigana Poda (aka Roasted eggplant)

Makes 4servings

Eggplant - 1 large
Garlic - 2-3 cloves (FYI - Garlic pod is the grouping of the garlic gloves)
Mustard oil - few drops
Chopped Onion - 1/2 small or 1/4 medium
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Heavy cream - 2 to 3 tbsp, as per taste
Chopped Green chilli - 2-3
Salt, as per taste

  • Do not make this with cold eggplant. Make sure it has reached room temperature before trying out the rest of the steps. Else it will not roast well.
  • Using a fork, poke holes in the eggplant. If possible, make thin slots and place cloves of garlic in the slot
  • Brush the eggplant very lightly with few drops of mustard oil.
  • Roast on high heat on the stove till the peel burns. Continue to roast on low heat for the eggplant and the garlic to cook.
  • Alternatively, broil in oven for 20 mins, turning side after 10 mins. Or, cook at 400 degrees F for 20-30 mins.
  • Keep it aside for 5-10 mins for it to cool down a little. Wrap it in aluminium foil - I have found that makes it easier to peel the skin. Though, remove the garlic and keep it aside.
  • Remove the burnt peel and mash the remaining portion of the eggplant.
  • Add salt, chopped onion, grated ginger, roasted garlic, heavy cream and chopped green chilli. Mix it well.
  • You can add a few drops of mustard oil for added flavor. You can also add aloo bharta (Heat oil. Add cumin seed, chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste and mashed potato. Cook till it stops sticking to the side of the utensil.) and mix it well.

Update on 05/04/2012 - Adding the pic - long overdue. :)